When Reliability and

                   Survivability Count

                                         Count on Bokam

The Bokam Input Device Advantage

Executive Summary

The Bokam products offer extensive military heritage, survivability and performance that is unmatched by the conventional technology used by other input device manufacturers.

Bokams technology is unique and provides a long list of advantages over devices based on conventional technologies ranging from potentiometer, hall effect, optical, to conventional strain gages. Bokam input devices are a solid state stainless steel device without moving rubbing parts with constructions that can be implemented both as force sticks and position proportional devices.

Over the past 14 years of our products being in use both medical and military fields our products are yet to get to end of life in operation or in life test. In fact Bokam has yet to have a sensor related field failure.

The Bokam products are not designed to compete with commercial products that by their very nature are designed to have a very limited life but ultra low cost. However, Bokam does not have any competition in high reliability extreme life applications. And in fact in these mission critical applications our products provide both a up-front cost savings and a cost of life savings when compared to even the most reliable high reliability standard technology products and military input devices.

Bokam supports a wide range of vehicle and man-machine interface system requirements with our products. The level of complexity and integration of our products into vehicle and system controls ranges from providing an input device and a microcontroller/signal conditioning electronics up to and including integrated vehicle, gunnery, fire controls, pedals and systems. A sort summary of our product offering includes (see photos attached):

  • • Vehicle control yokes/and steering systems and pedals
  • • Gunnery controls ranging from yoke type controls, large joysticks, game style controllers and miniature joysticks and controls
  • • Optical system and gimbal controls
  • • Cursor and computer interface controls, such as miniature and or hand held mice or panel mounted input devices.
  • • Multi-axis force sensors and controls

Vehicle, Gun/Fire Control and Man-Machine Interfaces

  • Vehicle/Gunnery Yoke Type Controls

  • Multi-Function Control

  • Analog and Digital Output Pedals

  • Precision Force Proportional Roller Ball Replacements and Optical Gimbal Controls




  • Custom and Standard Control Panel with Embedded Joystick

  • Military Grade Joysticks and Grips

  • Miniature Precision Two Axis Position Proportional Joysticks with 3rd Axis Input on Post

  • Standard and Customized Multi-Axis Miniature Input Devices for Grips, Panels and Multi-Function Controls

Key Take Away Points:

  • • Bokam input devices are a cost effect military grade input device not a commercial product designed specifically for mission critical applications where performance and life of input device are mission critical.
  • • Bokam products have an extensive military field heritage and are considered by all users as the low risk approach with thousands of devices already in the field including current military missions all over the world.
  • • Bokams sensors are yet to get to end of life either in the lab or in the filed with both normal and a great portion of out of spec conditions and uses. Life cycle data has been gathered with over 10,000,000,000 (10 Billion) life cycles of continuous operations without any change in performance. The long life and reliability of the products mean in operations many conventional technology input devices will have to be changed out or replaced several times before a Bokam device ever needs to be replaced – providing an unprecedented economy of application
  • • Bokam input devices are inherently water tight and rugged without the need to ruggedize enclosures or needs of boots or conventional sealing techniques.
  • • Unlike other conventional devices the Bokams devices were specifically design for military applications rather then a ruggedized version of commercial products.

Cost of Implementation:

The pricing of the Bokam products provides military grade devices substantially below the other military grade product lines in the market today. Bokams products are not meant to compete with the commercial grade devices that were never designed to meet the rigors of military applications. Because of unprecedented proven life and survivability of the Bokam input devices and sensors our products offer unparalleled economy of service, with potentially many conventional input devices including conventional technology military ruggedized devices needing to be replaced in the host system before any Bokam device needs to be replaced. This extensive life and performance of the devices provide a substantial equipment life cost savings to both the OEM designer and the end user. This cost savings is in addition to the fact that all Bokam input devices and systems are priced below our military grade competitors.

Summary of Life and Survivability:

The critical nature of military applications and the fact that military applications, by their very nature, have a survivability and life requirement that can not be compared with commercial or even light industrial applications, mean that the performance and survivability of the input devices are mission critical. In a military application failure of an input device does not just mean that a peace of equipment is not usable but could potentially mean the difference between success and failure of a mission and in the extreme cases life and death.

It is because of that criticality of applications and survivability that a large number of critical military products have switch to Bokam input devices and the number of applications and installation is growing every day.

Some of these implementation occur after substantial failures have been experienced with conventional technologies in the field. A very short list of examples of this includes:

  • • The Land Warrior project started out utilizing first a commercial product and then a military grade product by one of Bokams competitors but failures in field trials and field tests caused the project team to switch out all of the input devices to Bokam input devices only. Bokam is currently the sole source for all Land Warrior cursor control input devices with thousands of devices currently operating in the field.
  • • Philips Medical after implementing the Bokam input devices has no reported any field failures over the past 14 years of approximant 1,000 units per year implemented.
  • • Navy submersible input devices – Navy experiences 30% failure rate per year of conventional input devices prior to switching to Bokam input devices and are now experiencing a 0% field failure rate over the past 5 years in operation of thousands of devices fielded.
  • • A wide range of Israeli military applications have switched from conventional technology input devices to the Bokam input device in order to reduce risk and have enjoyed a zero percent field failure rate after the switch.

List of Other Current Military Applications:

  • • Hunter UAV
  • • SDV
  • • GSE
  • • LPD-17
  • • DRS-GS207/GS3400
  • • Land Warrior
  • • Future Combat Systems
  • Common Crew Station Hand and Foot Controls
  • • Various NAVY and Diver Controls and Programs
  • • Israeli Tank Computer Cursor Control Input Devices
  • • Israeli Future Soldier Program

Comparisons of Technologies

It is important to note that the most non-Bokam input devices that are utilized in our competitor’s products are based on commercial sensors and designs that were not originally designed in order to work in the extreme survivability and performance of the military market. The conventional technology referred to herein consists of potentiometers, hall-effect, optical, and conventional strain gages. All of these technologies which were never designed for use in the military applications must be either ruggedized or sealed in order to prevent pre-mature failure. A significant amount of data and historical information exists about the loosening, life cycle induced slop and decrease in performance and premature end of life of all of these devices.

Conventional technology input devices that are based on potentiometers or hall effect, or optics have severe limitations in that the movement of the input device will eventually ware the sensing element itself causing reduction in performance, increased dead zones, loss of calibration, change in the feel or performance of the device and in the extreme, loss of signal. Unlike the Bokam input devices these devices need to be protected by boots or special enclosures that would prevent the environments from getting in to the device. This precludes even a limited function operation to get to the end of a mission.

The Bokam approach was completely different. Starting with a solid state input device that is inherently robust and does not have any moving, rubbing or wearable parts meant that the Bokam devices can be very simple and does not require complicated designed to ruggedize or protect the input device from ware.

The base Bokam sensing element is not susceptible to the environments in fact has even been demonstrated to function under water un-sealed.

One of the most critical advantages of the Bokam device in addition to life and survivability is the fact that the same base sensing element can be used both as a force proportional device (force stick) and a positing proportional device (position displacement device) with the addition of one spring element between the post and the base sensors. This has two main advantages: 1) during the design process the same basing package can be used regardless of the HFE decisions about force proportional or position proportional user interface 2) in the field if the input device or panel is severely damaged and the post itself is either removed or damaged operator can still use the system by simplify applying a force onto the force sensor in order to safely finish the mission.

Test Data and Experimental Information

Bokams input devices have been extensively tested in both laboratory environments and in the field. Substantial data has been gathered regarding performance of the devices and systems by both Bokam and our customers in a wide range of applications and uses. Although this short paper will not go into the full extent of the data gathered here are some summary points based on the extensive testing and field trials conducted:

  • • Life data had been gathered on position proportional input devices of up to 10,000,000 (10 million) life cycles (with the life cycle being extreme travel in all axis) without any change in performance or life expectancy at the end of the test. Test was terminated because the customer had stated that no further testing was required. Bokams internal testing have yet to get to end of life.
  • • Force proportional input devices have been tested up to 10,000,000,000 (10 billion) load cycles without any change in performance or end of life.
  • • The base input device has shown to be repeatable over a wide range of load cycles with performance, linearity and accuracy not changing over time or cycles.
  • • The base input device is not susceptible to temperature variations. And the electronics have been designed to overcome any electronics based temperature variations making the devices operational through extreme temperature ranges


1. See Bokam Technology General Description Document for more information about specifics of Bokam Technology and applications

2. Bokam can provide test data that has been used as the basis for the statements made in this document upon request. Due to the proprietary nature of some of this data (for both Bokam and our Customers) information will be disclosed in a restricted manner and only upon request.





News & Events

Rep Portal

Industry Partners

Contact Us

About us

Contact Us



2720 S. Shannon St.

Santa Ana, CA 92704



P: 714-513-2200

F: 714-513-2204




© 2017 Bokam Engineering Inc.